Myth or a truth? Nobody knows for sure what a Yeti is. Does it exist in real or just in the imagination of people? Several people from the past and even people from this age also believe in the existence of this enigmatic creature. This supposed creature is believed to be half human and half ape covered with thick fur and huge feet. No solid reason nor evidences are provided, and the mystery is yet to be solved.
History and Folklores
The story began in the remote past when the oral tradition of telling and retelling of folklores was a famous activity. Thus, this yeti is a strong character in the history and mythology of Sherpa, the indigenous communities of eastern Nepal that live at an average altitude of 12,0000 feet. Shiva Dhakal assembled 12 traditional stories in his book Folk Tales of Sherpa and Yeti wherein yeti is shown as a symbol of danger. It is speculated that such folktales actually induced morality and provided lessons to general public of that time. Furthermore, some people think that this yeti figure was created in the stories to create fear in people. This fear had a purpose to serve; to enable mountainous people to be strong and fearless so that they could bear the harsh weather and brutal climate of Himalayas.
Foreigners and the Footprints
This story, however, became sensational when western travellers and explorers hiked up in the Himalayas. Charles Howard-Bury was an explorer and politician. In 1921 he led a British expedition to Mount Everest. During his expedition, he speckled some hefty footprints and was told that they belonged to “Metoh-Kangmi”. A term famous among Himalayans which means “man-bear snowman”. When Mr. Bury returned, he gave a very vague interview which created curiosity and attracted a lot of people. Consequently, many people left for Himalayas in search of yeti. A lot of mountaineers launched expedition of Himalayas just to find out the mysterious yetis, but in vain. Famous film star of Hollywood, James Stewart also went to Himalayas to sight a yeti. He stored a supposed Yeti finger in his luggage which later on, after DNA testing, turned out to be a human finger. He must be disappointed then. Moreover, Yeti skulls, fur, skin and bones were also found, which after inspection got connected with other wildlife animals like monkeys, bears so and so forth.
Up until now there are no solid evidences of its existence, yet people haven’t stopped the search. Cryptozoology is the search for creatures that cannot be said to exist because of the lack of evidences. In that case yetis fall in the category of cryptozoology which makes quite a lot of sense (Jones, 2015).
Some Logical Debates about Yeti
After sometime, some mountaineers from Indian army went on an expedition of Mount Everest and tweeted along with some pictures that they have found the footprints of Yeti for which all sort of comments flooded in; some people ridiculed it by saying yeti is the mysterious cousin of big foot while some defended them with weird statements like folklores are actually historical recounts so there is possibility of their existence. Again nothing can be said for sure; however, Daniel C. Taylor who is the author of “Yeti: The Ecology of a Mystery” carried this topic to the next level. He declared that the 32 inches long footprints were only created by dinosaurs, so these long footprints are no possibility today. He rationalised the 32 inches long foot prints which are being observed in Himalayas are only possible when the snow melts out from the edges of the footprint and this is what he assumes had happened. It makes a great sense though. Secondly, he further added a concept that animal cannot survive alone, thus there is a group of bear and cubs which are living together in bushes as the footprints ended into the bushes. His explanation does not end here, the explanation is yet more to go. He further ironically categorised the yetis into 3 categories which are as follow.
The first yeti, according to him, is a Santa clause; the second one is inside people who wants to be close to the nature and the third yeti is the real one whose paw is printed in the snow which is a mama bear and a cub. Although, he is also not sure about the existence of Yetis, yet he would love to sight one in his life. (Garcia, 2019)
Yeti Seems to be a Relative of Brown Bear and Polar Bear
The mountaineer Reinhold Messner is famous for sighting yetis in real. However, he opposes the idea of Yetis as being a combination of human and apes. He added, yetis are yet another specie of bears and he has seen them multiple times in Himalayas in 1980s. In simple language, yeti is a bear according to him with thick fur, shadowy figure and big feet. So, he provided some hair samples to Bryan Sykes, a former professor of genetics at the University of Oxford in the UK, who tested the supposed yeti hair. There were two samples; one from Ladakh, India and the other from Bhutan. When the yeti DNA was compared with the genomes of other wild animals, it was revealed that the samples were genetically similar to a polar bear that lived about 40,000 years ago which implicitly suggests that yeti is basically a combination of polar bear and brown bear. This idea was not accepted for all. Barnett and Edwards came forward and refuted this very idea of resemblance between yeti and polar bears. They, rather, declared that the samples were of brown bears which are anyway common is Asia.
Even after such great struggles for decades, we are not sure of yetis. Although many people have reported seeing an ape-man in the Himalayas, still there are no solid reasons to support their existence. Some people even said that the local population just makes up the stories on the basis of folklores to earn good fortune by attracting tourist. Again, yeti is a myth or the truth; we are not sure of that. So, the mystery remains a mystery.